What happens when your children's father dies without leaving them anything in his Will?
This was the situation recently faced by Bianca Maria Corrado. She had been having a long-term affair with a married businessman, Malkiat Singh Ubbi. Together they had two children, aged 3 and 6 months respectively at the time of his death in 2015.
Apparently Mr Ubbi was in the process of divorcing his wife when he died but his last Will dating back to 2010 did not make any provision for his two young children, who stood to get nothing out of the £3.5 million estate.
A child of a deceased person can make a claim against their estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 (the "Act") if they believe that the Will or intestacy rules fail to make reasonable financial provision for them. Where, as here, the children are younger than 18 any claim must be brought on their behalf by a so-called 'litigation friend', in this case their mother.
She was pressing for £850,000 from the estate. The judge in fact awarded the two children a combined total of £386,000, finding this was an appropriate amount to make reasonable financial provision for their maintenance. The case should provide useful guidance for claims made by infant children in the future.
Claims by children under the Act are not limited to blood children, whether legitimate or illegitimate, of the deceased but include individuals who were treated by the deceased as a child of the family. Adult children can make claims under the Act as well. Recently, of course, the much reported Illott the Miston saga found that even when an adult daughter had been estranged from her mother for an extended period, they might still be provided for under the Act.
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Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.